We are always looking for that hidden gem of a winery that most people don’t know about yet. Must be our pioneer spirit. On a recent visit to Lake Chelan, our friends, Leslie and Chip, took us off the beaten path to discover a wonderful new winery – Ventimiglia Cellars.
It really is off the beaten path, located on Howser Rd behind some fruit storage facilities. You travel down a gravel road complete with chickens and then you are rewarded with this small tasting room. What the tasting room lacks in size is made up for with the winemaker, Ron’s, larger than life personality. We were greeted like old friends and made to feel right at home at the tasting bar. When Leslie found out Shawna (Ron’s wife) wasn’t there, she had Ron call her and invite her over to join the party – which she did.
And what a party it was…. We started by tasting a crisp white Pinot Gris and Viognier blend. But the party really took off for me when we got to the reds. Ron makes a fabulous Bordeaux blend that he calls, “Amalgamarsi”, which in Italian means to unite or meld. It is really delicious. I especially liked the fact that Ron is so knowledgeable about wine-making and eager to share that knowledge. I feel I learned quite a bit listening to his stories.
We also decided that we needed the Merlot and Syrah to go into our cellar. While very drinkable now, they will really shine with a few years of cellaring. We also purchased a bottle of Port. Having been in Portugal earlier this year and making an effort to taste as many ports as possible, this is a big compliment to Ron.
If you are visiting Lake Chelan and want to have a great time tasting, Ventimiglia Cellars, is the place for you. Definitely a boutique winery producing about 250 cases per year, friendly, family owned with lots of warmth and hospitality (and fabulous green olives).
Mille Gratis Ron and Shawna!